Two days after being given the all-clear to resume work, the manufacturing sector was almost at full operation capacity yesterday.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) Tricia Coosal said the vast majority of the industry reopened.
“We have over 90 per cent of our manufacturing sector out to work as of today (yesterday). We have less than five per cent that are not open and a few reasons would be that they are sourcing raw materials and stocking up on inventory,” said Coosal.
She explained that there were a few issues regarding the resumption of operations but most of these would have been expected given the lull in activity at the factories over the past two months.
“There will also be issues where they would need to be restarting of their factories, cleaning the plant, starting up the plants after being out of production for such a long period of time,” she said.
“We are getting the gears grinding again.”
Other issues which faced the industry, she said, were the assessment of current stock, as in some cases, certain products may have to be discarded outright.
“Inventory items on some of the materials would be perishable items. So these items would take a day or two to stockpile, to source, to stock within the factories, as they would not have been able to store this for quite some time,” Coosal explained.
Despite this, she was confident that the industry would be back to normal by mid-week.
At MDCUM, workers got back to the grind after more than two months without work.
General manager Anthony Farah said it took some work over the weekend to get the factory back up to operational level yesterday.
However, he explained that there was still a machine that was down, as it had been subject to repair via remote guidance by a foreign technician when the industry was asked to halt.
Farah said he hopes that they will resume the restoration of the machine this week.
He told the Guardian Media that the pause on work came just as the furniture manufacturer had got a large export order.
The timing was less than ideal, as he is also concerned that with the new school term, which is also expected to resume in September, the demand for the company’s furniture will not be short.
Farah believes the industry is one of the best equipped to run during the pandemic, as many other companies within the industry now use automated machines to reduce supply line contact previously seen in factories.
He also pointed out that their factory was highly ventilated.
However, TTMA president Coosal is aware that vaccination is very much a major part of the way forward. She estimated that half of the manufacturing industry is vaccinated and they are hoping to raise that number.
“I would say that over 50 per cent of the employees within the manufacturing industry that want to be vaccinated have been vaccinated. So we are quite pleased with our number and as the rollout continues and more vaccinations are allocated to the manufacturing industry, we expect that number to rise very rapidly and that’s good news for us…vaccinate to operate,” she said.